New Tournament Conditions

Entries open for championships as GUI publish tournament conditions

– New eligibility criteria for championships
– New handicap bands in the AIG Cups and Shields
– East of Ireland reverts to three-day format

Changes to the tournament conditions for the Golfing Union of Ireland, published today, will alter the competitive landscape for players and team captains in 2018.

The most notable differences this season are the handicap bands in the AIG Cups and Shields and eligibility criteria for championships. A new points system has been adopted for the Willie Gill Order of Merit and a new inter-club competition for boys has been introduced at under-18 level while the East of Ireland will revert to its traditional three-day schedule.

Players, Team Captains and others involved in any competition organised by the GUI or its provincial branches are reminded of the importance of reading the conditions of the event, contained in the GUI’s Tournament Conditions book (available online from

Meanwhile, entries are now open for all Irish and Provincial Championships for 2018. To enter championships, go to:


New points system for the Willie Gill Order of Merit
On the recommendation of the High Performance Committee the points system for the Willie Gill Order of Merit will be significantly changed. Only eight events will count – all domestic: the Irish Amateur Open and Close Championships, the North, South, East and West of Ireland Championships and the Munster and Connacht Stroke Play Championships. In addition, automatic places will be available on the Home Internationals Team from this Order of Merit in accordance with the Selection Criteria set out and published (in 2018, this criteria will entail the leading four players on the World Amateur Golf Rankings and the leading two players on the Willie Gill Order of Merit making the Home Internationals team.

New Eligibility Criteria for Championships

From 2019 the eight events on the Willie Gill Order of Merit will include an automatic exemption for anyone scoring 100 or more points on that Order of Merit in a calendar year – exemptions valid in the following year. This will replace the exemptions offered previously for the top-four finishers in the North, South, East and West of Ireland Championships in addition to the Irish Amateur Open and Close Championships. In the interim period (2018), performance-related exemptions in these eight events will be offered on the basis of achievement of the results necessary in 2017 to have gained 100 points on the Willie Gill Order of Merit in its new format. In all circumstances, the player must have entered the Championship to avail of the exemption. (See Appendix 3 of the Tournament Conditions Book for further information and a list of those who will be exempt under this rule, provided they enter the relevant championships.)

Pace of Play (Rule 6 of General Rules)

The Union’s Pace of Play regulations have been revised to remove the timing schedule from the normal enforcement – now a group will be considered out of position if they are, simply, more than one starting interval behind the group in front. Timing schedules will continue to be used to track the first group of each championship day, and to guide enforcement by referees.

Irish Boys Inter-Club Championship

In accordance with the Motion passed by the voters at the Annual Delegates’ Meetings, a new inter-club competition for Under-18 Boys will be introduced. Under 18s will be eligible to represent their clubs in this event provided that they did not hold a handicap of below 5.5 on 1 January in the year of the event, and provided that they hold a CONGU handicap that is displayed on Golfnet on the day of competition. The maximum playing handicap is 24; those with a handicap of in excess of this will play off 24 in the event.

Caddies now prohibited in the AIG Jimmy Bruen and AIG Pierce Purcell Shields
The penalty for breach is set out in the General Rules for AIG Cups and Shields.

New handicap bands in the AIG Cups and Shields
AIG Junior Cup – Lower limit reduced from 5 to 4
AIG Jimmy Bruen – Lower limit reduced from 6 to 5; Combined limit reduced from 17 to 15
AIG Pierce Purcell – Lower limit reduced from 12 to 11; Combined limit reduced from 27 to 25
GUI Four-Ball – Lower limit reduced from 16 to 15; Combined limit reduced from 36 to 34

New Local Rule

The GUI and its Branches will apply the new Local Rule recently announced jointly by The R&A and USGA for introduction in 2018 eliminating additional penalties for signing for an incorrect score due to the golfer failing to include a penalty he did not know he had incurred.

Students Championships

There is a significant change in the team format for students championships. College teams must consist of players who have individually entered and been. However, while the team must consist of at least two players there is no upper limit to the number of players who may represent the college team. The best two scores each day will count for the team score.

Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship

Due to operational and scheduling issues arising from Ireland’s hosting of the World Amateur Team Championships, a number of Irish events have been rescheduled on a one-off basis in 2018. One of these events is the Irish Under-16 Boys Amateur Open Championship, which will, for one year only, take place in June – on 20-22 June in Castle Dargan. This may affect a number of students taking state examinations, and in recognition of that fact, it has been decided to create an additional competitive opportunity for Under 16s the following week at the Irish Boys Amateur Open Championship in Belvoir Park (26-29 June), where the conditions will – for one year only – provide for at least 30 places for under 16s who enter the championship and an Under-16 medal for the leading player in that age category.

East of Ireland Championship

After trialling a new schedule in 2017, and having surveyed the players that competed last year, the Leinster Provincial Council have decided to revert to the traditional three-day schedule for the 72-hole East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship.

West of Ireland Championship

Due to light restrictions, a card count back will decide ties for 64th place after the second round of stroke play qualifying, rather than a playoff.

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